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HUFFPOLLSTER: New Polling Shows Who's Among The Newly Insured

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HEALTH INSURANCE
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Gallup shares more of their trove of polling data on who's getting insurance via the ACA. Scott appears to be gaining on Crist in Florida. And Americans don't make much of Kathleen Sebelius' departure from HHS. This is HuffPollster for Wednesday, April 16, 2014.

UNINSURED RATE DROPS FASTER IN STATES WITH EXCHANGES, MEDICAID EXPANSION - Emily Cohn: "The ranks of the uninsured are thinning most quickly in states that have actively embraced Obamacare, a new poll finds. The uninsured rate has fallen about 2.5 percentage points this year in states that agreed to expand Medicaid and established their own insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday. In states that either rejected Medicaid expansion or refused to set up state-run exchanges, or both, that percentage has only fallen 0.8 percent so far this year." [HuffPost, Gallup]

Higher fines could spur further signups - Charlie Richter and Stafford Nichols find Americans more likely to say they'd sign up for insurance if fines were increased: "Uninsured Americans' likelihood of signing up for insurance differs depending on the amount of the fine they would have to pay for not carrying insurance. At a hypothetical $95 fine level, uninsured Americans are as likely to say they would not get insurance (46%) as to say they would (47%). At a $500 fine level, the percentage saying they would get insurance jumps to 60%, but this percentage levels off at a $1,000 fine level at 62%." [Gallup]

Looking at the "newly insured"' - On March 4, Gallup began a "retroactive" measure of Americans who changed their insurance this year, as editor-in-chief Frank Newport explained during a panel Wednesday. Gallup asked respondents to its Healthways Well-Being Index if they had a new insurance policy in 2014, whether they'd been insured previously, and whether their new plan was through a health care exchange.

Their results tracked with Gallup's overall finding of a decreased in uninsured Americans. About 11.8 percent of Americans reported getting a new health insurance policy in 2014 -- 7.5 percent were replacements of previous policies, while 4 percent were new. Those new policies were split roughly evenly between those acquired through an exchange, and those from other sources -- about 2.1 percent and 1.9 percent of all Americans, respectively.

Newly insured Americans self-report being about as healthy as other Americans, and skew slightly younger and lower-income than the population as a whole. Those who are newly insured through the exchange, however, skew older than all Americans. The newly insured are more likely to be Democrats, both because the demographics of those signing up tend to lean left, and because Democrats are more likely to support the new health care law. [Gallup]

How does Gallup's data compare with that from other health care surveys? - Adrianna McIntyre reviews a paper tackling the question: "One unassailable perk of Gallup’s surveys is turnaround time: national-level data is available for analysis within a week of collection (state-level estimates are only made available twice a year, though)....Gallup has a robust sample size of 355,000. That’s not the [American Community Survey]’s 3 million, but it is higher than [the Census's Current Population Survey](200,000)...From 2008 through 2011, Gallup exhibited a lower baseline rate of uninsured than CPS, ACS, and [National Health Interview Survey], but trends over time were relatively consistent….One of the most troubling aspects of Gallup’s data is their Medicaid estimates: these come in at about half the enrollment in government surveys, a margin of four to five percentage points….All in all, it’s a mixed bag: There are serious limitations for empirical research, but Gallup data seems adequate for the rough cuts of information that our impatient news cycle seems to demand." [Incidental Economist]

IN OTHER HEALTH CARE NEWS - SEBELIUS'S DEPARTURE NOT SEEN AS MAJOR CHANGE - Emily Swanson: "The impending departure of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is bringing forth a kind of shrug from her fellow Americans. They may not view her with much approval, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds, but they don't think her leaving will change how the Affordable Care Act works. Forty-one percent of Americans said they have an unfavorable opinion of Sebelius, while only 19 percent have a favorable opinion. But 39 percent said they weren't sure….Overall, 61 percent said they think Sebelius' departure won't make any difference in the law's implementation, including 81 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of independents and 49 percent of Democrats." [HuffPost]

CRIST LEADS SCOTT IN FLORIDA - SurveyUSA: "29 weeks till votes are counted in Florida, incumbent Republican Governor Rick Scott is the underdog in a fight against (now) Democratic challenger Charlie Crist, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted for WFLA-TV in Tampa. Today, it's [Crist] 46%, Scott 41%." [SurveyUSA]

Is Scott catching up? - Marc Caputo: SurveyUSA and another poll by St. Leo University "show Scott underperforming with Republicans relative to how much Democratic support Crist gets, or getting fewer crossover voters (Democrats who vote for the Republican vs. Republicans who vote for the Democrat) than Crist. So if Scott keeps serving up the red meat in his Obamacare-centric ads, there's a good chance that more Republicans will come home to him. In that case, he starts to win. As I've repeatedly stated on the blog, in columns and in news stories: Don't be surprised if this race is so close it requires a recount. It's not a matter of if Scott starts catching up. It's when." [Tampa Bay Times]

Poll average shows slightly tighter race - The HuffPollster tracking model currently gives Crist an edge of just over 4 points, down from about 7 points last November. [HuffPollster]

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WEDNESDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-A McClatchy-Marist poll finds Democrats up 6 on the House generic ballot. [Marist]

-A Maine poll finds Paul LePage (R) and Mike Michaud (D) nearly tied in the race for governor. [Pan Atlantic SMS]

-New Jersey goes sour on Sandy recovery [Monmouth]

-Nearly all California voters describe the state's water shortage as serious [Field]

-Harry Enten doesn't like Kathleen Sebelius' chances in Kansas. [538]

-David Hill (R) urges Republicans to pursue a middle position on immigration. [The Hill]

-Stanley Greenberg and Erica Seifert say unmarried women are the key to 2014. [Politico]

-Kristen Soltis Anderson (R) thinks Republicans have a better message to win women in 2014. [Votifi]

-Andrew Prokop sees Canada's redistricting commissions as a model for fixing gerrymandered districts. [Vox]

-The 2014 Global Drug Survey finds that alcohol was the world's most commonly used drug last year. [HuffPost]

-Larry Bartels examines studies on whether GOP can continue to depend on white voters. [WashPost]

-Kaiser Fung reviews common mistakes in A/B testing. [Junk Charts]

-Charting the edibility of matzah -- with matzah. [Medium]

-10 charts inspired by Mean Girls. [HuffPost]